20 Jul SUSTAINING SUPPORT FOR GREATER MIAMI’S LGBTQ COMMUNITY DURING COVID-19
For the past 15 years, The Miami Foundation has been grateful to partner with the National LGBTQ Task Force to provide grants that strengthen the LGBTQ community in our region. The Task Force, the nation’s oldest LGBTQ advocacy group, has donated a portion of the proceeds from its annual Gala Miami and Winter Party Festival back to the Greater Miami community, making it the only national organization to do so. More than $3.3 million has been donated to the Foundation’s LGBTQ Community Fund. Dozens of local LGBTQ advocates have served on the Fund Committee to annually make grants that improve quality of life for LGBTQ residents in Greater Miami, and strengthen organizations seeking to make a difference in the lives of LGBTQ people
The urgent needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic required us to accelerate our 2020 process and award $200,000 in grants. Rea Carey, executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, shared: “We know the need for resources is critical and urgent for the South Florida LGBTQ community. Through our long-standing partnership with The Miami Foundation and its LGBTQ Community Fund, we are pleased to be able to give this year’s contribution early so the local Fund Committee can deploy these funds more quickly to address urgent community issues.”
The Foundation modified our process to increase speed, minimize requests of people’s time during a crisis, and leverage insights from our long history doing this work. Traditionally, we announce an open call for proposals in June and engage the Fund Committee in application review, interviews, and grant decisions in September. But urgency called for us to adapt.
Since 2005, the LGBTQ Community Fund has awarded nearly 350 grants to 89 nonprofit organizations – and gained rich learning from the grant proposals of many more. Through grantees’ remarkable work, and the annual open application process, the Foundation and Fund Committee have gained deep and unique understanding, knowledge, relationships and insight. All were vital for us and committee members from prior years to leverage this year and set priorities to strategically deploy the $200,000 we had available, addressing urgent LGBTQ community needs during the coronavirus pandemic response.
The priorities we focused on to guide our decision-making were to support: active local organizations with LGBTQ-specific missions – that is, a core mission to serve the needs and advance the causes of LGBTQ residents; nonprofits that have proven themselves impactful in the community over time; and organizations that are addressing issues escalated by COVID-19 through direct services or advocacy work for vulnerable populations that were established priorities of the Fund, including transgender persons, seniors, youth, and persons of color. Some grants were larger than the $2,500 to $15,000 range in the standard guidelines, so the number of awards are fewer and more strategic.
The LGBTQ Community Fund is proud to announce awards to these 11 organizations. It is our privilege to sustain, support and celebrate the work and achievements of LGBTQ organizations that are such a vital and valued part of The Miami Foundation’s mission to improve life for all the residents of Greater Miami.